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What Kids and their Families Can Expect from Radiation Therapy

Read Time: 3 minutes

Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Abbie and I'm the child life specialist here at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

This is a video to help you and your family know what to expect when you come up for radiation.

When you first come in for your visit, you'll get to meet your doctor and your nurse and hopefully me and we'll help you feel comfortable—get to know you a little bit and come up with a good plan.

You'll come back a second time for your simulation visit. You will meet with your doctor again and go to our CT simulation room. You'll lay on a table and get a CT scan done. Your job is to hold super still and this is just a couple minutes long.

You'll get a few things made depending on what type of radiation you're having done. If you're having radiation done on your head you'll have a mask made. This mask is just to help you hold still and be in the perfect position every time for your radiation. You can breathe and see through the little holes. This sheet is warmed up in warm water and placed over your head to mold exactly to your face. It takes about 15 minutes to dry. Your parent or guardian can be right there with you and you can listen to music and kind of hang out while it dries.

If you're getting treatment on another part of your body you might have a beanbag chair-like mold made for you. So again, your job is to hold still while the therapists make the mold around your body for whatever position is best for your radiation.

For the next week or two, your doctor will work on making your radiation plan just for you. You'll come back for your treatment and go back to a vault or a room where the treatment machine is. The therapist will set you up on the table in the same position that you were for your simulation. So if you had a mask, you'll have your mask, if you have your beanbag chair, you'll have your beanbag chair. You might have tiny marks made on your body so that the therapist can line you up in the room each day for radiation. If you have these then we'll talk more about them the day that you come in for your treatment.

Some kids need help holding still for their radiation treatment, especially younger kids. If that's the case you and your parents will be together and you'll get some sleepy medicine and then wake up when your treatment's all done.

When you're in the radiation room your job is to hold really still. You can listen to music or a podcast or a book on tape. Because you're the only one who needs the radiation the therapist will step out of the room and be nearby. They can hear you and see you on cameras, so if you need anything your job is to let us know. We'll be right there with you just not right in the room. After your treatment's done the therapist will bring you back to your parents and you can go home.

I hope this video was helpful in supporting you and your family and knowing what to expect when you come up for a radiation. We're excited to meet you.

Cancer touches all of us.